The modern workforce is highly mobile and dispersed, with workers (employees, contractors, partners, etc.) using a variety of devices to access corporate data from various locations. As a result, traditional cybersecurity approaches based on network perimeters are no longer sufficient. Banyan Security’s Security Service Edge (a device-centric SSE) has emerged as a new approach to security that focuses on device-centric security to address the challenges of the modern workforce and hybrid work model.
What is Security Service Edge?
Security Service Edge (SSE) is a security framework that provides security services, such as threat detection and response, at the edge of the network. The edge of the network is where users and devices connect to the internet, including branch offices, remote workers, and cloud computing environments. SSE aims to secure data and applications by implementing security policies that are tailored to each user, device, resource, and location.
SSE is a relatively new concept, and its definition is still evolving. Gartner defines SSE as “Security service edge (SSE) secures access to the web, cloud services and private applications. Capabilities include access control, threat protection, data security, security monitoring, and acceptable-use control enforced by network-based and API-based integration.”
According to Banyan Security, the key features of SSE include:
- Providing security as a service at the edge of the network
- Supporting on-premises, remote, and mobile users needing to securely access applications and resources on-premises, in hybrid, or multi-cloud
- Implementing security policies that are tailored to each user, device, resource, and location
- Enforcing granular access controls based on user identity, device identity, and device posture
- Providing visibility and control over applications and data
Why Legacy Cybersecurity Tools are Inadequate
Legacy cybersecurity tools rely on a perimeter-based security model, where all traffic entering the network is inspected for threats. However, this model is no longer effective as employees work from various locations and devices. Cybercriminals have adapted to this new reality and are finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities.
Simply iterating on or adding layers of exceptions to legacy cybersecurity tools is a failed approach. These tools are not designed to handle the complexities of the modern workforce and hybrid work model. Adding more security layers creates complexity, making it more difficult for security teams to manage and maintain these tools. Moreover, legacy cybersecurity tools may not be able to provide the level of visibility and control needed to secure data in today’s environment.
Why Device-Centric SSE is Important
Device-centric SSE provides a new approach to security that is tailored to the modern workforce and hybrid work model. Device-centric SSE focuses on making access decisions as close to the edge as possible, rather than relying on some concept of a network perimeter. It recognizes that devices are the primary way that employees access corporate data and that these devices need to be secured regardless of their location.
Device-centric SSE provides granular access controls based on user identity, device identity, and posture. This means that users only have access to the data they need to do their job, and only from identified devices that meet the organization’s security standards. For example, an employee using a personal device to access company data may be required to use multi-factor authentication and have the latest security patches installed before being granted access. This level of control is difficult to achieve with traditional security tools, which often rely on network-based controls that are easily bypassed by attackers.
Device-centric SSE also provides visibility and control over cloud-based applications. With the rise of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, data is often no longer stored on-premise, making it difficult to control and secure. Device-centric SSE solves this problem by providing a centralized policy engine that can control access to cloud-based applications and data, regardless of the user’s location or device.
In a hybrid work model, where employees work from multiple locations and devices, the attack surface becomes even more complex. Attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in any of the devices or networks used by the employee to gain access to sensitive data. Device-centric SSE addresses this challenge by providing a unified security approach that covers all devices and locations used by the employee. This ensures that the organization’s security posture is consistent across all endpoints, regardless of whether they are corporate-owned or personal devices.
Device-centric SSE also provides the agility and flexibility needed to adapt to changing security threats. With legacy cybersecurity tools, updates and patches can take weeks or even months to implement. Device-centric SSE, on the other hand, provides a cloud-delivered service that can be updated and adapted in real time. This allows security teams to respond quickly to new threats and ensure that their security policies are up-to-date.
Evolving Security for Today’s Threats
Organizations need a new approach to security that is tailored to the modern workforce and hybrid work model. One that recognizes that traditional security perimeters are no longer effective and that security needs to be delivered as a service at the edge of the network.
Device-centric SSE simplifies security operations by providing a centralized security platform that can be managed and monitored from a single console. This reduces the complexity of security operations and allows security teams to focus on more strategic initiatives.
By leveraging intelligence on-device rather than the network perimeter, device-centric SSE provides granular access controls, visibility and control over on-premises and cloud-based applications, and a unified security approach that covers all devices and locations used by the employee. It enables organizations to ensure that their data is protected, regardless of where it is accessed or from which device.
Editor-in-Chief at TechSpective
Originally published at TechSpective.